Iconic Bel Air estate becomes most expensive listing in America

Iconic Bel Air estate becomes most expensive listing in America

An historic mega-mansion in Los Angeles just hit the record books as the most expensive property currently listed in the United States.

The Casa Encantada, an eight-acre Bel Air estate that translates as “the Enchanted House,” could well become the most expensive home ever sold in California if an interested buyer plunks down the current asking price of $225 million. As the Los Angeles Times reports, that perch is currently occupied by the Spelling Manor, which sold for $119.75 million in July.

Built in 1938, the Casa Encantada was designed to be the most opulent and extravagant mansion in Hollywood. Even during the Great Depression, building costs for the Bel Air estate ran up to $2 million (approximately $35 million in today’s dollars). Hotel magnate Conrad Hilton purchased the home in 1950 for $225,000.

Architect James Dolena designed the 40,000-square-foot mansion with a whopping 60 bedrooms. The mansion’s H-shape gives almost all of its rooms triple views of the city, the ocean and the park. T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbing, considered one of the most iconic decorators in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s, picked out the interior furniture and design. The listing is held by Jeff Hyland of Hilton & Hyland as well as Hilton’s grandson Rick Hilton and Shawn Elliott of Elite Real Estate Marketing.

 

Did Tax Reform Kill the Luxury Market? NOT SO FAR!

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The new tax code limits the deduction of state and local property taxes, as well as income or sales taxes, to a total of $10,000. When the tax reform legislation was put into law at the beginning of the year, some experts felt that it could have a negative impact on the luxury housing market.

Capital Economics:

“The impact on expensive homes could be detrimental, with a limit on the MID raising taxes for those that itemize.”

Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics:

“The impact on house prices is much greater for higher-priced homes, especially in parts of the country where incomes are higher and there are thus a disproportionate number of itemizers, and where homeowners have big mortgages and property tax bills.”

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) predicted price declines in “high cost, higher tax areas” because of the tax changes. They forecasted a depreciation of 6.2% in New Jersey and 4.8% in Washington D.C. and New York.

What has actually happened?

Here are a few metrics to consider before we write-off the luxury market:

1. According to NAR’s latest Existing Home Sales Report, here is the percent change in sales from last year:

  • Homes sales between $500,000 – $750,000 are up 11.9%
  • Homes sales between $750,000 – $1M are up 16.8%
  • Homes sales over $1,000,000 are up 26.7%

2. In a report from Trulia, it was revealed that searches for “premium” homes as a percentage of all searches increased from 38.4% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 41.4% in the first quarter of 2018.

3. According to an article from Bloomberg:

“Median home values nationally rose 8 percent in March compared with a year earlier, while neighborhoods of San Francisco and San Jose, California, have increased more than 25 percent.

Prices in affluent areas in Delaware and New York, such as the Hamptons, also surged more than 20 percent.”

Bottom Line

Aaron Terrazas, Zillow’s Senior Economist, probably summed up real estate’s luxury market the best:

“We are seeing the opposite of what was expected. We have certainly not seen the doomsday predictions play out.”

Moving-Up to a Luxury Home? Now’s the Time!

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If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! We recently shared data from Trulia’s Market Mismatch Study which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.

The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds those searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer which can eventually lead to a price change.

Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call your house their new home.

The sale of your starter or trade-up house will aid in coming up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.

But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.

In a Washington Post article, Daryl Judy, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties, gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:

“Some high-earning millennials save money until they are in their early 30s to buy a place and just skip over that starter-home phase. They’ll stay in an apartment until they can afford to pay for the place they want.”

Bottom Line

The best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs and you are looking to step into a luxury home, now’s the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true.

3 Reasons to Buy Luxury Property THIS Year!!

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For that reason, prices haven’t skyrocketed as they have in the lower and mid-tier markets. This, coupled with sensational mortgage rates, means that this may be the perfect time to purchase the luxury property you have always desired.

Let’s break it down into the three major reasons to act now:

1. There are more homes from which to choose

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, inventory in the upper end is increasing, while it is decreasing at the lower and mid-tier price ranges. Here is a graph showing the average increase/decrease in inventory for the first four months of this year as compared to last year:

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2. Prices are becoming more reasonable

In a separate article, the Wall Street Journal also talked about prices in the luxury market. They explained that downward price adjustments have been more common in the luxury market than in markets with lower prices. They went on to say:

“The growing number of price cuts suggests luxury-home sellers are becoming more realistic about property values as sales have slowed, said several real-estate veterans.”

Not only will you have more to choose from, but you may also be able to get the property at a reduced price.

3. Mortgage rates are at historic lows

In the past, one of the drawbacks to purchasing a luxury property was the larger mortgage rate on “jumbo” loans which are often required on high end properties.

However, HSH.com just revealed that jumbo rates just set new record lows:

“While conforming fixed-rate mortgages eased a little this week, 30-year fixed-rate jumbos declined enough to break into new record low territory (3.66%), besting the previous low set in April by two basis points.”

Bottom Line

More choices, better prices and historically low mortgage rates may make this the perfect time for you to own one of those luxury properties you and your family have always fantasized about.